previous next
[4]

6. the march of the regiment.

by H. H. B.
Here they come!--'tis the Twelfth, you know--
     The colonel is just at hand--
The ranks close up, to the measured flow
     Of music cheery and grand.
Glitter on glitter, row by row,
     The steady bayonets, on they go
For God and the right to stand--
     Another thousand to front the foe!
And to die — if it must be even so--
     For the dear old fatherland!

O trusty and true! O gay, warm heart!
     O manly and earnest brow!
Here, in the hurrying street, we part--
     To meet — ah! where and how?
O ready and staunch! who, at war's alarm,
     On lonely hill-side and mountain-farm
Have left the axe and the plough!
     That every tear were a holy charm,
To guard, with honor, some head from harm,
     And to quit some generous vow!
For, of valiant heart and of sturdy arm
     Was never more need than now.

Never a nobler morn to the bold
     For God and for country's sake!
Lo! a flag, so haughtily unrolled
     On a hundred foughten fields of old,
Now flaunts in a pirate's wake!
     The lion coys in each blazoned fold,
And leers on the blood-barred snake!

O base and vain! that, for grudge and gain,
     Could a century's feud renew--
Could hoard your hate for the coward chance
     When a nation reeled in a wilder dance
Of death, than the Switzer drew!
     We have borne and borne — and may bear again
With wrong, but if wrong from you.

Welcome, the sulphury cloud in the sky!
     Welcome, the crimson rain!
Act but the dream ye dared to form,
     Strike a single spark!--and the storm
Of serried bayonets sweeping by,
     Shall swell to a hurricane!

O blind and bitter! that could not know,
     Even in fight, a caitiff-blow,
(Foully dealt on a hard-set foe,)
     Ever is underwise--
Ever is ghosted with after fear--
     Ye might lessen it-year by year,
Looking, with fevered eyes,
     For sail or smoke from the Breton shore,
Lest a land, so rudely wronged of yore,
     In flamy revenge should rise!

Office at outcry!--ah! wretched Flam!
     Vile Farce of hammer and prate!
Trade! bids Darby — and blood! smirks Pam--
     Little ween they, each courtly Sham,
Of the Terror lying in wait!
     Little wot of the web he spins,
Their Tempter in purple, that darkly grins
     'Neath his stony visor of state,
O'er Seas, how narrow!--for, whoso wins,
     At yon base Auction of Outs and Ins,
The rule of his Dearest Hate--
     Her point once flashing athwart her Kin's,
And the reckoning, ledgered for long, begins--
     The galling Glories and envied Sins
Shall buzz in a mesh-like fate!

Ay, mate your meanest!--ye can but do
     That permitted — when Heaven would view
How Wrong, self-branded, her rage must rue
     In wreck and ashes!--(such scene as you,
If wise, shall witness afar)--
     How Guilt, o'erblown, her crest heaves high,
And dares the injured, with taunt, to try
     Ordeal of Fire in war--
Blindfold and brazen, on God doth call--
     Then grasps, in horror, the glaring ball,
Or treads on the candent bar!

Yet a little!--and men shall mark
     This our Moloch, who sate so stark,
(These hundred winters through godless dark
     Grinning o'er death and shame)--
Marking for murder each unbowed head,
     Throned on his Ghizeh of bones, and fed
Still with hearts of the holy dead--
     Naught but a Spectre foul and dread,
Naught but a hideous Name!
     At last!--(ungloom, stern coffined frown!
Rest thee, Gray-Steel!--aye, dead Renown!
     In flame and thunder by field and town
The Giant-Horror is going down,
     Down to the Home whence it came!)

Deaf to the Doom that waits the Beast,
     Still would ye share the Harlot's Feast,
And drink of her blood-grimed Cup!
     Pause!--the Accursed, on yon frenzied shore,
Buyeth your merchandise never more!
     Mark, 'mid the Fiery Dew that drips,
Redder, faster, through black Eclipse,
     How Sodom, to-night, shall sup!
(Thus the Kings, in Apocalypse,
     The traders of souls, and crews of ships,
Standing afar, with pallid lips--
     While Babylon's Smoke goes up!)

Yet, dree your weird!--though an hour may blight,
     In treason, a century's fame--
Trust Greed and Spite!--sith Reason and Right
     Lie cold, with Honor and Shame--
And learn anon — as on that dread night
     When, the dead around and the deck aflame,
From John Paul's lip the fierce word came--
     “We have only begun to fight!”

Ay, 'tis at hand!--foul lips, be dumb!
     Our Armageddon is yet to come!
But cheery bugle and angry drum,
     With volleyed rattle and roar,
And cannon thunder-throb, shall be drowned,
     That day, in a grander, stormier sound-
The Land, from mountain to shore,
     Hurling shackle and scourge and stake
Back to their Lender of pit and lake--
     ('Twas Tophet leased them of yore)--
Hell, in her murkiest hold, shall quake,
     As they ring on the damned floor!
O mighty Heart! thou wast long to wake--
     'Tis thine, to-morrow, to win or break
In a deadlier close once more--
     If but for the dear and glorious sake
Of those who have gone before.

[5] O Fair and Faithful! that, sun by sun,
     Slept on the field, or lost or won--
Children dear of the Holy One!
     Rest in your wintry sod.
Rest, your noble Devoir is done--
     Done — and forever!--ours, to-day,
The dreary drift and the frozen clay
     By trampling armies trod--
The smoky shroud of the War-Simoon,
     The maddened Crime at bay with her Doom,
And fighting it, clod by clod.
     O Calm and Glory!--beyond the gloom,
Above the bayonets bend and bloom
     The lilies and palms of God.

--Hartford Evening Press.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Sodom (Israel) (1)
Ins (Switzerland) (1)
Hartford (Connecticut, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Paul (1)
Kitty Gray (1)
Darby (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: